29 November, 2011

Hey, Kid: A Letter to Myself at 15

My impending birthday always makes me reflective.  This year, I spent, like six months contemplating the reality of 30.  So, I've been sitting on this for a few days, debating whether I should post it.  The more I read it, the more I love it.  So I will share.  And I might even add some pictures...

Hey, kid (don't you hate that, I always did):

First, the bad news: They aren’t bringing back Crystal Pepsi. Not ever, so let go of the dream. We did not marry Rider Strong or Rivers Cuomo. I know, right?! You should still doodle cute Weezer doodles all over your binder, though. It’s fun. Also, we are not the toast of Broadway. Lame, I know, but true. Oh, and Ricky Martin is gay. We totally called it.

Now the important stuff.

Don’t be so hard on our parents. They’re pretty amazing. They’ve put up with a lot of shizz from us over the years (ask me about our college bank account). Dad works really hard and he does what he does because he likes it. He’s also pretty brilliant at it, too. Adults do this thing where they stay at a job even though they don’t like all the aspects of it. Insane, I know.  He hates that his job takes him away so much, but it does help pay for the car you’re getting (that’s right, a car for your 16th birthday…keep an eye out in June) and everything else you have, so chill. Besides, we’re 30, and Mom is still our best friend, so what does that tell you.

Oh, by the way, when you are 18, you will be offered some rum cake. DO NOT EAT IT. It will make you sick and you will throw up all over the stairs. It will make the staircase smell like booze. Mom will think you were drinking. She will not believe that you weren’t. When she asks you again (and believe me, she will, several times, years later), she’s giving you a chance to come clean. Stick to your guns. We’ll get her yet.

While we’re on the subject, get ready for this: You will miss Nebraska so much you will feel like you can’t breathe. Never saw it coming. After high school, you will cry every time you leave Mom and Dad’s after a visit. Every time. Each time you visit it will be harder to leave and you’ll feel like your heart is in a vice grip. It sucks. But, you can’t move home every time life gets tough so stick it out.

You are beautiful. Right now. Just like this.  I wish I could be there every day to remind you. Look, I get it: nobody close to you looks like you and that’s hard. You just want to fit in.  These feelings aren’t your fault.  We do, however, live in a world obsessed with youth and beauty and these subtle messages won’t be lost on you. You will internalize it all and you will feel ugly. Every day. I wish I could tell you this gets better for us or shield you from it, but it doesn’t and I can’t. I have given up so much in the pursuit of the perfect figure, sometimes I think the only thing getting smaller is my spirit.  I would give anything to stop you from going through this.  The silver lining?: Our struggle with this makes us nicer to people…gives us empathy…which, let’s face it is an emotion we aren’t good at.

So, boys.  Oh, honey if I had the answers I'd be a millionaire.  All I can say is this: Be good to yourself.  Love yourself first. You won't find what you feel you're missing in the ice blue eyes underneath a dirty ball cap.  It never works out and you'll lose yourself trying to be someone he wants.  Also, you can say no.  Even if it goes really far, really fast.  No one gets ownership of your body but you.  Remember that.  Each and every time.

Okay. This is really important. Your 20’s are going to be…difficult at times.  However, there will be people all around you that want to help. Do not shut them out. You do not have to do it alone.  You’ll know what I mean when you get there. I wish I could explain, but you need to live through these things. You will get back up, you will be okay again and you will feel like a Phoenix when you do.

There’s lots more I want to tell you but I don’t want to ruin the surprise, so I will give you a couple of spoilers (Google it…oh, wait. Can you do that? Google things? Well, look it up anyway.) So here goes:

Hang in there for the Friends finale. It gets pretty good.
Keep your eye on the political scene. Un. Believable.
Remember to relax.
There is a hotter batman than Michael Keaton and Val Kilmer. Seriously, wait for it.
In like three years, a movie called The Matrix will come out. Go see it. It will blow your mind.

So there you have it, honey.  The next 15 years in a nutshell.  It's gonna be crazy, but you're gonna love it.

All my love,


  1. Tell yourself to be just as kind to that Scoobie kid as your instincts tell you to be, just in case. It will mean a lot to him. He definitely wouldn't have found his style without you.

  2. I LOVE this! my 15 year old self would be upset about not marrying Rider Strong too. Super cute, Erin.